South Korea is experiencing an outbreak of the MERS disease in such mass that it is only second in magnitude to that of the 2012 outbreak in Saudi Arabia. Subject to nine deaths out of 122 cases being confirmed, some 3,400 people have been exposed to this deadly disease.
With fears of contracting the virus in the minds of those in the Seoul metropolitan area and the nearby Gyeonggi Province in South Korea, many have been completely quarantined to protect the public from further spread. As a relatively news disease only first being identified in late 2012 in Saudi Arabia, the public should become familiar with some aspects of this illness.
MERS is an acronym for Middle Ease respiratory syndrome. While the Middle Ease has seen most of the cases, the United States has had confirmed diagnoses from some who traveled to this country carrying the disease. Most patients who die from the virus typically succumb to a high fever and pneumonia and usually also have some other core disorder such as diabetes or kidney failure. MERS is immune to antibiotics, leaving only the patient’s own immune system to fight it. The Aspire New Brunswick recently posted on their website that the mortality rate is thought to be more than 30 percent.
While the disease is not believed to spread as easily as the flue or measles do, it can be contracted by touch, blood, or by breathing in large amounts of infected air. Unless the virus mutates into a more infectious disease, health officials do not anticipate a worldwide pandemic.